Digital Project Learning Summary

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As I think about my masters journey I think what a great way to end it…with CROCHET!! I have always been a woman who likes to do…I enjoy furniture restoration, decorating, painting, gardening…really all things I can do with my hands. Even when I am sitting, which isn’t often, I like to be productive. Crochet is a craft that allows me to stay focused and keep busy when I have some down time and what a great craft to learn in my final class. Here is my crochet journey!

Blog 1: What matters to me…

https://firstever.home.blog/2019/10/01/what-matters-to-me-final-project/

This blog allowed me to contemplate what I would like to learn and how I was going to achieve this. I knew right away I would be choosing crochet as my final project-but how was I going to get there? How could I incorporate digital learning into this craft?

The few weeks before this blog was created was big learning…I had opened a twitter account, figured out which blog site I wanted to create my blog on, created an account with WordPress and finally stepped into what I wanted to do. As many people in this class, I work and finding the balance between taking my final 2 masters classes and working was a struggle. I work full time with Saskpolytech as a Clinical Advisor in the SCBScN program, mentoring new staff and assisting struggling students. I wear my uniform every day and head out to various clinical sites, either hospital or community, assisting as needed. I also work as an RN every few weeks at the Regina General Hospital – I truly love being a nurse and staying casual reminds me why I chose nursing as a career. In a typical day-the most I spend online is looking at Facebook and Instagram…maybe 30 minutes. This was a huge learning curve for me.

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What did I learn?

  • that my laptop at home needs updating and won’t even handle WordPress or Zoom to be downloaded 😦
  • Twitter account
  • WordPress Blog
  • inserted a YouTube video into my blog
  • incorporating images into my blog
  • how crochet can be a stress reliever

Blog 2: Crochet 101

https://firstever.home.blog/2019/10/15/crochet-101/

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These weeks were spent more tackling the logistics of researching yarn online, heading to the local Micheal’s store to buy yarn and my first crochet hook, searching out other yarn stores in Regina, researching crochet on Pinterest for free patterns, tutorials, stitches and ideas as well as signing up for free online crochet patterns.

What did I Learn?

  • that despite watching tutorials on Pinterest for step by step guides–i am a hands on learner who needs someone to give immediate feedback 😦
  • Micheal’s can be overwhelming if you aren’t sure what you are starting with…colors, weight, cotton vs. wool vs. acrylic vs. many other choices
  • it’s ok to ask a real person for help

Blog 3: Jumping In

https://firstever.home.blog/2019/10/22/jumping-in/

This week was a busy week of learning. Once I got the hang of a stitch I didn’t want to put my project down. I just needed to get less clumsy with my fingers and more adept at managing the wool and the hook. I found myself picking up project everytime I sat down and could really focus.

What did I Learn?

  • met with my “crochet elder”
  • I started my first project- a cotton dishcloth…when it didn’t go according to a square dishcloth plan-i flipped it over and started stitching on the other side

Blog 4: Learning the Ropes

https://firstever.home.blog/2019/10/29/learning-the-ropes/

I spent this time thinking about how I could take my project further and explore more online. I figured out the time lapse feature on my phone’s camera, so did a quick video. I also searched on my favorite social media outlets of Instagram and Pinterest to get digital.

What did I Learn?

  • By this time, I had been going to visit my “crochet elder” weekly for some tips and to get feedback on my progress.
  • I was able to take a quick time lapse video but until the last 2 weeks didn’t know how to embed it … so here it is!
  • I researched on Pinterest the crochet abbreviations and how to read a crochet pattern
  • I also joined some crochet online communities through Instagram and Facebook

Blog 5: A new level

https://firstever.home.blog/2019/11/19/a-new-level/

I had a bit more time this week in my office, so was able to explore Wakelet and start a collection of Crochet ideas as well as figure out some ways on WordPress to make my blog more visually appealing.

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  • critically reflected on my crochet journey
  • finally figured out how to block color my headings on WordPress and organize my posts into categories:)
  • started a Wakelet account to organize my crochet ideas
  • incorporated GIF’s
  • decided thrifting for an afghan may be easier than spending the time, however, realize that the good things aren’t always easy
  • Watched crochet podcasts and created my own YouTube channel to follow podcasts

What did I Learn?

Blog 6: Learning from Mistakes

https://firstever.home.blog/2019/11/19/learning-from-mistakes/

By this time I was frustrated with my journey and realizing how exhausted I was. I knew it was time to either undo my entire project or call it a day and realize that it was an infinity scarf. So-I learned how to end the project with a couple of knots and started my christmas list early by sending my niece a scarf made by her favorite auntie!

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What did I Learn?

  • follow a pattern
  • ask for advice
  • don’t mix up your stitches
  • it’s ok to realize that you need to start over with new yarn
  • explored Wakelet more and added more to my collection
  • look out the front windshield, not the rearview mirror

Blog 7: Quick update

https://firstever.home.blog/2019/11/26/quick-update/

My first YouTube video

What did I Learn?

  • that it’s ok to learn at my own pace…what may seem huge to me is day 1 for others
  • record a YouTube video and create my own YouTube channel
  • embed a YouTube video onto my blog
My final Project in progress 🙂
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Quick Update

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This is just a quick update of the week! I am so excited that I actually may have figured out how to have my own YouTube channel with a live video and uploaded onto my blog…no views but if this actually works I may be famous some day!

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Me! Crocheting 🙂

One reflection

I decided to take my crocheting to my Monday night grad class while I listened to group presentations. At the break, 2 people came up to inspect my project and neither one of them told me how great it looked or asked me what kind of stitch I was using. The only thing they pointed out was the one spot that I missed a stitch. They told me how I could fix it by stitching in a separate piece of yellow wool or undo the stitches back to that point (given that I had already unstitched it once to make it wider there was little doubt in my mind that would not be happening). I calmly told them that it was meant to be that way…that it was a reminder to my daughter who would receive the blanket when I am done that not everything is perfect.

Remember everyone…its the journey 🙂

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Learning from Mistakes

This week was one of learning from mistakes.  I was unable to meet with my “crochet elder” as I was in clinical all day last Friday-so decided to take matters into my own hands and tackle my big project on my own.  I decided to forgo a pattern and just wing it with the stitches I have learned.  I went ahead and did the chain stitch for the first row and then I did two rows of the double crochet stitch.  The double crochet stitch is two stitches high and to me speeds up the process of making something-so I saw this as an easy way to get ahead faster–remember this….good things don’t come easy


After the two rows of the double crochet stitch, I did two rows of the single crochet stitch.  The look of the two varying stitches looked good…at least for the first couple of times I alternated.  It started to look almost “frilly” and wouldn’t lay right when I put it down.  I asked my office mate who has just started crocheting and we decided together that it would eventually lay flat and that I should just keep going.  So-keep going I did.  I would sit quietly in the morning and do a row, I would sit quietly when everyone had gone to bed to do a row and the relaxation of just crocheting became a touch addictive.  


Bowling Bag

I even took my bowling bag of yarn and hooks to a Professional Development workshop offered by our nursing program and sat at the back of the classroom crocheting while the presenter discussed Cultural diversity in our classrooms.  At one of the breaks, a crochet guru came over to look at my project and asked to see my pattern.  After explaining that I am a true diy’er and made up my own pattern, he explained a few things to me….

  • beginners should never not follow a pattern
  • I wasn’t taking from the right stitch on every continuing stitch 
    you should always count how many stitches you do on your first row of chain stitches and count that many stiiches on every subsequent 
  • my blanket was never going to lay flat
  • I had “created”, unknowingly, a beautiful SCARF 😦

Looking out the front windshield…not the rearview mirror

I am usually the optimist in the room-so I decided that this first official scarf would be given to my niece as a little early birthday gift. She lives in Calgary so I won’t be too disturbed by my failure and if she doesn’t wear it-I likely won’t know 🙂

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The week ahead

This week my goals include:

  • exploring podcasts related to crocheting
  • exploring Wakelet – Can it work for me?
  • figuring out how to insert a time-lapse video on my blog
  • what else?
animation craft GIF by Julie Smith Schneider

A New Level

My new start… eventually a blanket

I feel that I am in the plateau of my project stage and need to step up my game. I have learned a couple of crochet stitches, picked out my wool and have started my blanket.

Almost every day I am sitting down and making time for a few rows on my blanket and some critical reflection has occurred about why I chose to start crocheting.

Reflecting & Remembering

My grandma & me, May 1977

As a kid growing up, my grandma’s infamous white afghan became a symbol of healing. My grandma had learned to crochet when her kids had left home to pursue careers and her first project was a big white afghan. We lived close to my grandparents and truly my grandma was one of my best friends. When either my sister or I was sick or even needed some comforting, out the white afghan would come. It was kept in a plastic storage bag and would always be washed before it got put away. Why my grandma picked white as her wool color-I will never know. But she was also a stain guru and it didn’t matter what got spilled on that afghan, she could get it out. That white afghan was a symbol of healing and we always felt that my grandma’s arms were around us when we were snuggled up in that blanket.

My son was always close with my grandma. He was the first great-granchild and really could do no wrong in her eyes. She died 10 years ago this October and we have felt a hole in our hearts since then. She was really my biggest fan, and my son’s. After my divorce 7 years ago, my son decided to live with his father and things got tough. He got very bad into drugs, and despite trying everything to get him to stop, come and stay with me or even talk to me, he stopped all contact with me. I remember being desperate to get through to him and help him remember the values I had instilled in him. I tried everything-calling the police, going to his high school, smashing his bongs-to name a few things. As a last ditch effort I decided to pull out my grandma’s white afghan. I knew how much she meant to him and decided it was time for healing. The night I gave it to him was tough- I drove around Balgonie to his favorite hang outs, found him in a car full of his “friends” and opened the door. I handed him the plastic bag that my grandma had put the white afghan in and told him I didn’t know what else to do but hope that he remembered how much his family loved him. So weird-the look on his face. I knew I had to just walk away and give him space to think about what I had said. That blanket still smelled like my grandma- I hadn’t opened it up since the day she had given it to me before she went to the hospital, at least 3 years before.

Since that day, my son has pulled himself out of drugs, graduated from high school, started a career in Power Pole Linesman (3rd year apprentice) and passed all of his drug tests. We communicate either by phone or text weekly and usually meet at least once a month when he isn’t working. I am extremely proud of the man he has become. I have thought of that afghan many times over the years, but never asked him about it…mostly because I was afraid that maybe it hadn’t mattered as much to him as it had to me growing up.

My son & daughter at his high school graduation

He recently moved into an apartment of his own and invited me over the day after he moved in. I walked in and on his couch he had the white afghan, an afghan my sister had crocheted him and a patchwork pillow my mom had quilted him. All I had to do was touch that afghan and all of the memories came flooding back. He looked at me and we were both crying. WOW…those balls of wool stitched with love have never meant so much

My sons apartment

What’s new?

This week I have made time to watch a few podcasts and also discovered Wakelet!!

crochet podcast

My Daughter’s Inspiration

My daughter is a thrifter…her and I love going thrifting for treasures and recently she has started going every Saturday with one of her friends to the thrift stores. She came home just beaming last weekend with this…

“MOM…I got this HUGE afghan at Salvation Army for only $3.99! By the time you spend your time and money going to Micheal’s for yarn and sitting on the couch crocheting the wrong way look at the time you could be saving!”

text wow GIF by Omer

The Week Ahead

  • step-by-step tutorials on the crochet stitch I am using to make my blanket
  • learn more about podcasts and how they can work for me
  • spend more time exploring Wakelet and how it can work for me
  • spend more time on WordPress…categories, color blocks and getting to know my blog site
  • Determine if I can make 8 of these for my daughters friends for christmas as she has requested…
Crochet cactus

Learning the Ropes

This was a slow week in terms of doing…but a great week in terms of learning. My “crochet elder” did not have much time to spend with me this week so I have been exploring online tutorials in order to learn on my own. I started off with a youtube tutorial that reviewed the basics for me such as the slipknot, some basic terms, how to hold my hook and yarn.

A new stitch

Abbreviations came in handy!

https://www.craftyarncouncil.com/standards/how-to-read-crochet-pattern

Now that I am reading crochet patterns and able to accurately make 12 of the same stitch in a row, the abbreviations are confusing me. I was able to refer often to the crochet abbreviations master list on the craft yarn council https://www.craftyarncouncil.com/standards/crochet-abbreviations and also look at the crochet chart symbols https://www.craftyarncouncil.com/standards/crochet-chart-symbols. I also found a great chart on the Craft Yarn Council Website that explains different Hooks and Needle Sizes https://www.craftyarncouncil.com/standards/hooks-and-needles

This stitch guide has been a huge help while attempting to read patterns and decipher what is needed…

Social Media and The Crochet Community

I also joined multiple online crochet communities…

I really feel that it is time for me to spread my wings a bit more in terms of what I can do to make my blog more exciting and inject more learning.

This week my goals include:

  • doing a time lapse video and inserting it in the blog
  • researching how to start an afghan
  • learning another new stitch
  • spending more time on the online community learning
  • discover some healing benefits to crochet

Critical Reflection

As I spend more time crocheting, I realize how good it is for my mind. The reason why I wanted to start this was to be able to sit with myself and keep busy…all at the same time. I am always the person on the go…up cooking supper, doing research for papers, working casual as a nurse at the hospital. This gives me a chance to sit and do. I have also seen it as a chance to network…tell someone you are learning to crochet and instantly they can relate. “My wife crochets baby hats” “You should try this pattern” “Have you been to this website” While working as a nurse this past weekend at the hospital I was able to have some therapeutic conversations, all because I saw the patient crocheting and it was their form of trying to heal.

Jumping in

I was unsure about how to get started on this crochet journey I have recently embarked on and realized I may need some help, actual human help. One of my office mates suggested that I come to her clinical placement where there is a resident teaching her students how to crochet. Well that made my day! We set up a time for Friday, Oct 18 – however…the resident informed me that I would need all cotton wool and we would be making a dishcloth. Of course I think big and had already purchased enough yarn for an army tarp…but off I went to Micheals…again🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️

My second trip to Micheals

Just a few images of the rows and rows of yarn to choose from!

I was truly looking forward to my crochet “date” on Friday with Joyce, the crochet “expert”. When I arrived at Joyce’s apartment with my wool in hand she was very excited to meet me. I had recognized some of the students in the lobby and they gave me many words of encouragement. The first thing Joyce did was show me the perfectly square dishcloths that the students had all completed. That was going to be me! We sat on her couch and she taught me the chain stitch and the double crochet stitch. I worked so intently for about an hour, undoing if I wasn’t getting it right. What I ended up with was not quite like the students 🙈

Not giving up…

Friday evening I crocheted at home until my fingers hurt. Joyce has told me that I wanted to stick with dishcloths as an Afghan is too big of a project. The bigger the better has always been my motto so I’m not giving up on the Afghan dream quite yet.

Every evening as my husband watches baseball or his beloved maple leafs- I crochet. I am using this as my project practice piece and feel more confident each day.

Sunday evening Oct 20, 2019
Monday October 21, 2019

This week my goals included taking the plunge and starting a project, feeling confident in one or two stitches and to fit in some de-stressing over this project. All completed!

As I reflect on my meeting with Joyce, I think about how different times for choosing crochet are different. Joyce is a long retired nurse who primarily only crochets dishcloths to give to family. She still uses the time to be productive and uses her hands to create. I want to complete bigger projects with my crochet, however I love to sit and still be productive. One interesting reflection is that the use of wool to practice didn’t bother me in the least, whereas Joyce couldn’t fathom not undoing all of the practice stitches and using the wool over again.

Goals for this week:

– Meet Joyce again on Friday to learn another stitch

– go to chapters to look at books on crochet

– learn how to include a video and a hyperlink in next weeks blog😊

– move on from the practice to the project

The last goal is to figure out where my fingers and hands should be. Sounds small- but it feels awkward holding the wool and I am having to readjust often to wrap the wool around my fingers.

Happy crocheting!

Crochet 101 :)

These last two weeks have been more of an adventure in crochet:

  • yarn research….best kinds, weight, color…
  • visit to the Micheal’s store in Regina….overwhelming! Don’t take a teeanager if you need decisions on color!
  • attempting to decipher a stitch on Pinterest
  • finding free patterns online

This week will be sitting down with a crochet expert to gain some actual hands on experience!

What matters to me…Final Project

As I entered my last masters class with Alex Couros, I find it ironic that this will also lead me into some well deserved time for me. Not often do I take the time to rejuvenate myself and relax. There are always “things” to do….when my son was 7 months old I got accepted into Nursing School-assignments, daycare, clinical, graduating, starting work as a Registered Nurse, second baby, hockey practices, cheer leading practices, housecleaning, divorce, new job, new love, driving lessons, masters assignments…. 22 years in a few words. At about class 7 of my masters journey I knew that the time was coming when my masters would be complete and I could just focus on one thing that I was yearning to learn. Crochet.

I have always considered myself a DIY guru. Give me a project and I can pinterest, youtube and research myself into learning and figuring it out. Some of my interests have been in refinishing antique furniture and gardening. These both provide me a sense of relaxation, however they were mostly done out of necessity. I can paint furniture and change the look of something, but that was done out of wanting to change my decor on a budget. I can garden and divide plants like nobody’s business…however it was always with a vision in mind to get the yard looking nicer.

Crocheting has always fascinated me and it always seemed like it would be “too time consuming” and “too fiddly” for me. I am a girl who likes immediate results and crocheting an afghan seems like a long process with slow results. When the idea of this project was presented to the group, I immediately thought that this is the perfect time to learn crocheting. I don’t want to be the grandma sitting in front of netflix on a Friday night, rather I want to be the woman who uses this time as a time to reflect and relax while learning a new skill.

My final project will be learning how to crochet an afghan. Simple right? Yet as I researched, I came across this skeleton and the nurse in me got a bit excited…BUT…one thing at a time…right?!??

My plan to learn how to crochet is to watch Youtube videos, search out Facebook pages on crocheting for beginners, searching out ideas on Pinterest, going to a local craft store to buy a pattern and yarn, ask my peers for help, possibly attend a crochet class and video blogging my journey. The final project will be an afghan with plans to learn how to crochet baby hats and donate to our local Mother Baby Unit at Regina General Hospital where new babies get a hat given to them as a keepsake.

I am excited to not only learn the art of crocheting, but learn more about the art itself in order for it to become more meaningful. Part of the plan will be to research the definition of crocheting and where it originated as well as different patterns and opinions from novice and expert crocheters.

The end project will look similar to an afghan like this that will be kept at our new cabin. I do have big plans though and if your name is on my Christmas list, expect an afghan!